Garden Trend: Trees that Look Like Taylor Swift

‘Tis the season for horticulture days, spring flings and assorted other garden events. Saturday I had a chance to attend the District 7 Spring Fling, where Northern Gardener horticulture editor Debbie Lonnee discussed some of the new plants that will be introduced this year and over the next few years. (You can read Debbie’s picks for best new annuals for 2015 in the March/April issue of Northern Gardener.)

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift

parkland pillar

‘Parkland Pillar’ birch

Among the exciting new plants Debbie highlighted were some trees and shrubs that struck me as being very similar in shape to Taylor Swift—tall and skinny. It seems to be a garden trend to breed plants to fit comfortably in smaller landscapes. The ‘Parkland Pillar’ birch, for example, grows up to 30 feet tall and only 4 to 5 feet wide. It was bred by Jeffries Nurseries in Manitoba, so is hardy to USDA Zone 3. The tree has beautiful white bark and can be used as a hedge plant.

'Helmond Pillar' barberry (Plant photos courtesy of Bailey Nurseries Inc.)

‘Helmond Pillar’ barberry (Plant photos courtesy of Bailey Nurseries Inc.)

Shrubs are also being bred to be more narrow and tall, such as ‘Helmond Pillar’ barberry or ‘Blue Arrow’ juniper. In the landscape, these skinny beauties can be used in groups (see the image below) or as a single plant that makes a statement. Among arborvitae, there are several skinny options, including ‘DeGroot’s Spire’, ‘Golden Spire’, or ‘Forever Goldie’. All of them are very hardy in our region.

Have you tried any of these “Taylor Swift” plants? This is a trend you do not want to “shake off!”


skinny trees in landscape


  1. Vickie on August 3, 2020 at 6:22 pm

    What is the tall plant with the bark showing on the bottom…how wide & how tall…

    • Mary Lahr Schier on August 3, 2020 at 6:54 pm

      Those are arborvitae. I’m not sure which variety — there are several slim ones that look great in small spaces. DeGroot’s Spire is a nice option. Be warned, though, the rabbits will go after arborvitae. I suspect that’s why the gardener trimmed up the shrubs in this lovely yard.

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